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LEXINGTON, KY – Terry Hamilton, Brian Lynch, and Gary Barber’s Tobys Heart made a strong late push down the crown of the course to capture Friday’s $100,000 TVG Limestone Turf Sprint Stakes at Keeneland.
Tobys Heart broke from post 7 under Javier Castellano as the 2/1 favorite and settled into a mid-pack stalking position while Phantom Vision dueled inside of Navratilova through opening fractions of :22.35 and :45.39.
The 5/2 second choice Goin’ Good made a three-wide move in the far turn to challenge for the lead and took a slim advantage halfway home, but Castellano tipped Tobys Heart out to the center of the lane and sent her toward the front.
Overtaking Goin’ Good in the shadow of the wire, Tobys Heart crossed a 1/2-length clear, completing the 5 1/2-furlong good turf sprint in 1:02.29.
“I handicapped the race with Lynch (who also serves as trainer),” Castellano said. “He told me in the paddock: ‘There’s a lot of speed in the race. Let her fall out of the gate. Be patient turning for home and let her use one kick.’ She broke well out of the gate. She put me in a really good spot early. I traveled comfortable. I really like the way she did it. I rode her with a lot of patience, a lot of confidence. I rode the best horse in the race. I give all the credit to Mr. Lynch, the way he trained the horse. I just enjoyed the ride.”
Goin’ Good was 1 3/4 lengths clear of Navratilova and Phantom Vision, who were separated by a neck for third and fourth, respectively.
Salvaje, Alda, New Boss, and Inajiffy completed the order of finish.
Threatlevelmidnite, Carimba, Igloo, Campanelle, and Nimbostratus scratched from the field of 3-year-old fillies.
Tobys Heart’s win was her third from 4 starts, including last August’s Bolton Landing Stakes at Saratoga, before she returned from 6 months off to finish sixth in February’s Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The daughter of Jack Milton has now earned $153,150.
“She shortened back up to what she wants to do (sprint),” Lynch said. “Am I surprised she won? Not really. Am I grateful? Very much. We got Gary involved (as a co-owner) with this filly, which is great because I think she’s got a big future. We got her back doing what she likes to do and hopefully the rest of the year is a good one for her.”
Tobys Heart returned $6.40 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.80 to show. Goin’ Good brought back $3.80 to place and $3.40 to show. Navratilova paid $5.80 to show.
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